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Canucks Slow Starts Have Driven Two Coaches Crazy

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Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues
Vladimir Tarasenko would cash in on his own rebound to give the St. Louis Blues a 3-0 lead on the Vancouver Canucks March 28th.

The slow first periods experienced by the Vancouver Canucks in recent games, the unexplained phenomenon that is ‘not being ready to play’, strikes a familiar cord. One doesn’t have to stretch his or her memory back very far to recall having the same conversations on a day-in and a day-out basis during a series of games in November under head coach Travis Green.

It was a theme then as the start of the season nose-dived and it’s a theme now as Vancouver’s playoff aspirations tank.

Two different head coaches in two different situations both struggling to get this group to come out of the blocks. Yes, it’s on the coaches to have the players prepared and motivated, but when does the accountability fall where it truly needs to fall?

We’ll say what we said back on November 25th; it’s on the players.

We’re seeing the same bizarre decision making, the same iffy passes, the same low energy starts.

Character and leadership.

The Desert

As the Canucks head to the arid American southwest, presently in the comfortable 19 to 24 degrees Celsius range as opposed to the not-so-distant 40 to 50 degree range in summer, they find themselves experiencing their own set of mild to severe droughts.

Conor Garland continues to work hard and pester despite not being able to light the lamp. We spoke to him last week about playing through a goalless streak that now stands at 17 games and then tracked his latest game.

Tanner Pearson is another who can’t seem to find it. Head Coach Bruce Boudreau has praised number-70’s reliability and all-around game but at some point every top six forward needs to contribute offence, preferably on a consistent basis. Pearson is minus-5 and pointless over his last five. His last goal came on March 15th.

Meanwhile the Canucks poster boy for streaky, Brock Boeser, is back at it. The relief of the trade deadline passing? Boeser has a goal and an assist since March 21st and two goals over his last twelve games.

It’s not easy scoring in the NHL, but it’s tough on your team when a number of key guys aren’t doing it simultaneously during the most important two weeks of the season.

Bottom six: Vasily Podkolzin has no goals in 14, Alex Chiasson one in 13, and Jason Dickinson none in 18 games overlapping his injury absence.

Just a Co-ink-a-dink?

His 200-foot game needed work and so did his finish, but apparently the Vancouver Canucks miss the manic energy and offensive jam otherwise brought by Nils Höglander. Since the feisty Swedish forward left the line-up with his lower body injury in the 6-3 win over the New Jersey Devils on March 15th, the Canucks are 2-4-and-3.

Just Ahead

The Canucks are scheduled to practice Tuesday morning at 10:30 am before jumping on an airplane bound for Las Vegas. That’s where Vancouver Hockey Now is headed as well, VHN will be reporting from the pregames and matches against the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday night and the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday. The Canucks then return to Vancouver for a Saturday game against the San Jose Sharks.

VHN Managing Editor Rob Simpson has been covering the NHL for three decades on live TV, radio, and as a journalist. He worked his first ever game getting postgame sound as a teenager; it was Vancouver vs. Detroit.

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